I have a love/hate relationship with typography.
I love how good a well designed font looks on the page or on the screen. I love how the spaces between letters mean as much as the letters themselves. I love how simple lines, artfully connected, transform graphics to glyphs, transporting language across time and space. I love how something as basic as choosing the right font can turn a dry document to a work of art. I love how something as basic as choosing the wrong font can ruin the credibility of a document and even it’s author.
I hate that I don’t understand how and why typography works. Kerning, tracking, ascenders, descenders, whitespace – it’s all a black box to me.
I have a love/hate relationship with I Love Typography. I love that it opens my eyes to new fonts and type foundries. I love that it introduces me to innovative use of type and design. I love that it publishes typography-related articles and interviews.
I hate that I can spend hours at I Love Typography and learn next to nothing about how and why fonts work. I want to be sucked in to the deeper details. I want to read 1,500 words on the finer points of kerning or why whitespace is important. I want to understand why it is that I hate Comic Sans MS so very, very much. Teach me. I want to learn.
Alas, my search for the ulitmate Online School of Type continues. In the meantime, I Love Typography is cool, too.
most useful and informative thing i’ve read on typography lately was the W3C CSS2 spec. I’m sure the CSS3 spec is just as enlightening. as it’s rather late, i’m going to be very un-interweb and not provide a useful link for people to follow to save them looking it up manually. ha.. i just coined a new phrase in my head. anti-semant. I’m sure somebody has used it before but it feels neat to come up with it independently of having read it somewhere like here.
OK here’s my quicky typo lesson.
Kerning is the space between letters because fonts now unlike typewriters take up different amounts of space (non-proportional) – one needs to occasionally adjust the space between letters to create an even ‘colour’ ie that words look like words rather than having stange spaces between letters making it seem there is two words when there should only be one.
White space is important to give the readers eye time to rest – the art of typography and design is to guide the eye around the page as it is meant to be read – an order of importance if you will.
Sorry its not 1500 words. but hope its a help to start.
Leading, is called this because in traditional hot metal days lines of lead were used between the rows of type.
Ascenders are any vertical lines of the font above the x-height – which is the top of all lowercase letters like c a o u m etc.
Descenders are the lines below the baseline. the line on which all the type in a row sit on.